The recent heavy smoke blanketing much of the Northeast in the past month has been an unwelcome guest dampening our ability to safely enjoy these brief summer months. Beyond being a health risk and major inconvenience, this smoke, originating from our neighbor to the north, also serves as a harbinger of what is to come.

Hundreds of fires are burning across Canada and smoke has traveled as far south as Alabama causing many in the east to get familiar with Air Quality Index(AOI). An AOI of 150 is considered unhealthy source: AQI Basics | (

Whether these fires are started by human activity or naturally via extreme heat, drought or lightning strike, how can these fires be prevented and what role does sustainable forest management play?

Like all big questions such as this, the answer is nuanced and multifaceted. From a sustainable forestry stand point it stands to reason that  thinning forests through timber harvesting reduces a forest’s  fuel source may be one of the ways we can help mitigate the risk.

In early July, as part of the President’s Investing in America agenda, the Deputy Secretary of the Interior, Tommy Beaudreau, announced a $185 million investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support wildland fire management across the United States in fiscal year 2023. This funding will assist land managers in planning for wildfire management activities in fiscal year 2024 and will be used to provide special pay supplements and training opportunities for federal wildland firefighters. Additionally, the investment will advance collaborative fuels management and burned area rehabilitation activities.

The Department of the Interior plans to invest $1.5 billion over five years from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to better support the federal wildland firefighting workforce and increase community and ecosystem resilience to wildfires. The announcement also includes the allocation of $12.5 million towards 63 projects in eight states to reduce hazardous fuels on nearly 40,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM)-managed lands, $64 million will be allocated to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, BLM, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service for fuels management projects starting in fiscal year 2024. The investment will also support an agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to utilize the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) Program for rapid wildfire detection and reporting. Another $11.4 million will be used for special pay supplements for federal wildland firefighters. Source: Biden-Harris Administration Announces $185 Million for Wildfire Mitigation and Resilience as Part of the Investing in America Agenda | U.S. Department of the Interior (

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